Albany CrossFit Adds "Kitchen Raid" Reality Show Component to Paleo Diet Challenge

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It's all very evil: contestants in a 90-day diet challenge sponsored by Albany CrossFit will be subjected to random home inspections by their coaches. Sounds like fun!

Albany Fitness

Jason Ackerman, Owner of Albany CrossFit and CrossFit Clifton Park

We're going to add a new dimension to the meaning of the word 'busted!'

Albany CrossFit and Crossfit Clifton Park, part of a worldwide movement that is changing the way people think about diet, health and fitness, today announced its annual 90-day Paleo diet challenge beginning on New Year’s Day will have something new: a reality TV style component called “Kitchen Raid.”

“We decided to up our game and have some fun,” explains Jason Ackerman, owner of Albany CrossFit and CrossFit Clifton Park.

Last year, over 100 members of the gyms participated in the diet challenge, losing thousands of pounds. Many said they had experienced life-changing transformations.

“Our members banded together to form a remarkable support system,” says Ackerman. “But we always try to get to the next level. That’s how ‘Kitchen Raid’ was born.”

Challenge contestants who agree to participate in “Kitchen Raid” will be subject to random home inspections by their coaches, with the results captured on video and posted to the Facebook pages and websites of Albany CrossFit and CrossFit Clifton Park.

“It will be a bit like Olympic athletes and random drug testing,” explained Ackerman. “You never know when the inspection will happen.”

Ackerman declined to comment on speculation coaches might stand outside contestants’ homes with megaphones, shouting: “Open that fridge door!” Nor would he say anything about punishment burpees.

"Let's just say we're going to add a new dimension to the meaning of the word 'busted!'" said Ackerman.

It’s not Albany CrossFit and CrossFit Clifton Park’s first foray into reality TV style contests. Last year, a “Top Coach” elimination contest, complete with challenges and immunity, selected three members to become certified as CrossFit coaches.

Albany CrossFit 90-Day Paleo Challenge contestants will record improvements in diet, athletic performance and body composition. They will take before and after pictures and track improvements in benchmark workouts including: CrossFit’s classic Fran workout (21-15-9 pull-ups and the thruster barbell movement); Snatch (1 rep max); a 10,000 meter row; and a one rep max back squat.

The entry fee is $50. Winners will receive prizes ranging from gift certificates to a free one year membership.

“But this is not really about winning or losing a competition,” said Caleb Nelson, a coach at Albany CrossFit. “That’s not what drives everyone. It’s really about becoming your best self. Our participants end up happier and healthier. That’s the real win.”

One of the happier and healthier people is last year’s winner, Katie Hunter. She lost 20 pounds during the Challenge, on top of the 35 pounds she’d previously lost and says: “This really got me out of my shell. I now know what I can do if I try. It was definitely a confidence booster. People now come to me for diet advice. I never thought that would happen.”

The Albany CrossFit gym began modestly five years ago in cramped and shared space with a handful of members. It expanded to a second location in Clifton Park, then expanded its original location. Together, both gyms have over 500 members.

Why the success for a demanding diet and workout regimen?

“It’s the community feeling and the caring,” says Albany CrossFit and CrossFit Clifton Park owner Jason Ackerman. “We treat everyone who walks through the door like an athlete, regardless of their current fitness level, and our members are great about encouraging each other.”

The Paleo diet is part of the journey. It consists mostly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. Grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oil are excluded.

CrossFit workouts focus on natural and functional movements and are different every day. Every workout is coached and the coaches scale the workouts to accommodate different ability levels. CrossFit uses barbells, kettlebells, pull up bars and many body weight movements including squats and pushups.

And it’s a bit like the TV series “Cheers”: everyone knows your name. Members strike up friendships, go out together and travel together. A few have even gotten married.

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